They say that it isn’t over until the Fat Lady sings. Did you ever wonder what “it” was or who the heck this Fat Lady is they keep talking about? I can’t help you there, but I do know who the Fat Man is. It’s William Conrad, who came back to television in 1987 as J.L. McCabe, better known as “the Fatman”. McCabe was one of those tough as nails district attorneys. He was actually an ex-cop, so had great criminal instincts. McCabe wasn’t above bending the law to put away the bad guy, and he wasn’t considered a very friendly type of fellow. He majored in stubbornness and plain speaking. He relied on Jake Styles, his private investigator, to do much of the leg work for the office. Jake was a bit of a flashy playboy, but he always delivered the goods for his boss. Again, Styles wasn’t against breaking a few rules to get what he needed. Styles was played by Joe Penny. McCabe also served as a mentor, of sorts, to young District Attorney Derek Mitchell, played by Alan Campbell. Mitchell was quite wet behind the ears and a little too eager sometimes. His ambition often got the better of him, and it was the gruff McCabe who kept him out of trouble. Finally, the team was completed by Gertrude, McCabe’s loyal and trusty secretary, played by Lu Leonard. While The Fatman put crooks away instead of defending innocent defendants, there could be no mistaking the parallels between Jake And The Fatman and Perry Mason. The two shows were from different times and the styles might not have been the same, but the dynamic was very much the same. You can see a lot of
The show never really found its footing and struggled for the 5 seasons that it ran. It wasn’t a terribly original program and was steeped in cliché for its entire run. It was never a ratings monster, and there were constant radical changes in attempts to retool the show over the years. In 1989 McCabe and his staff, excluding trusty Gertrude, moved to
This is another one of
Each episode of Jake And The Fatman is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. The show isn’t really that old, but the transfer really looks bad. There’s color bleed and a serious lack of definition. I know the series was originally lensed on film, and you can see a ton of specks and artifacts to prove it, but it appears this transfer comes from a video source. It looks as though it had been dubbed. Everything about this transfer is weak and reflects little to no effort to restore it.
The Dolby Digital Mono track delivers exactly what you are looking for and nothing more. The dialog is clear, and that’s all you’re going to get out of this minimalist presentation.
Each episode gives you the option of watching a very short network promo.
William Conrad will always be better known for his far more iconic role of Cannon in the 1970’s. I found his emergence here just wasn’t near as satisfying. Conrad was more or less a caricature of himself here, and the show suffered for it. As much as the network tried to make hay out of the two different characters, I never really felt any chemistry between them. I know the show has its fans, and hopefully